Road to Independence

Stroke patient desires, requires intensive therapy found at acute rehabilitation hospital.

Marlene is back to painting and plans to begin teaching again soon.

Marlene Putnam is nearly 80 years old and has been an artist for 45 of those years. She shares her talent by teaching drawing at the Museum Art School in Vero Beach. Her efforts nearly came to an end last year after she experienced a life-threatening stroke.

“I suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage on September 7 while in my doctor’s office in Oviedo,” Marlene recounts. “The paramedics came just as the doctor was about to give me CPR because I was fading fast. The paramedics got me to a hospital in Orlando, where they operated on me to end the bleeding in my brain.”

Once Marlene was stable enough to leave the hospital, she was transferred to a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) that promised rehabilitation. But Marlene soon realized she would not receive the intense therapy she needed to return to her
active lifestyle.

“The facility where I was sent was sort of a rehabilitation center, but not a physical rehabilitation center,” Marlene elaborates. “Within a week I had them transfer me to Encompass Health.”

Marlene chose Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Treasure Coast in Vero Beach because it is an acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital that offers a higher level of care than a skilled nursing facility.

Regaining Hope

Approximately 1.7 million people experience traumatic brain injuries each year in the US, reports Dawn Bucaj, RN, BSN, a senior rehab liaison at Encompass Health. As a result, there’s a significant need for comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation.

“Our brain injury rehabilitation program encourages maximum recovery following brain injury leading to restored connections and regained hope,” Dawn describes. “The goal is to help patients find their way back toward independence for a higher quality of life.”

Encompass Health’s brain injury program treats aneurisms, brain tumors, falls with injury, motor vehicle accidents, seizures, stroke, traumatic brain injuries and other neurologic defects.

“The brain injury program includes daily physician visits, round-the-clock registered nursing care by nurses specializing in rehab and experienced therapists to guide patients in reaching their goals for a faster return to the community,” Dawn informs. “The program’s team of medical professionals can meet the wide-ranging needs of brain injury patients.”

“Since going to Encompass Health I’ve gotten stronger, and I have more confidence.” – Marlene

“There’s a tremendous difference between an acute inpatient rehab hospital such as Encompass Health versus a facility that is called a rehab center or skilled nursing.” Dawn asserts. “It’s important to know the differences and voice your choice.

“Our patients receive three hours of therapy every day, which begins at their current level of ability, along with daily medical oversight and round-the-clock registered nursing care.

“I encourage potential patients and/or family members to tour the rehab facility or hospital before making any decisions. If they or their loved one should decide they would benefit from the comprehensive inpatient care and rehabilitation available at Encompass Health, they should ask for us by name. It is ultimately the patient’s choice where they go for rehabilitation.”

Painting Again

While Marlene was at Encompass Health, she received intensive physical and occupational therapy, which improved her stamina. The care she received from the staff left a positive impression on her.

“The people at Encompass Health were wonderful,” Marlene raves. “I couldn’t get enough of them, they were so good. They got my strength going and got me walking much better. I was there for 10 days, and I really loved it. I loved the people. The staff helped me so much. They’re marvelous. Since going to Encompass Health I’ve gotten stronger and have more confidence.

“I’m doing so well now. I’ve begun painting again, and I’ll begin teaching again next month. I’ll be teaching a drawing class, and I’m very excited about that. Going to Encompass Health was exactly what I needed.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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